Fall provides some of the best trout action of the year as fish everywhere feel the coming chill of winter and pack on the weight accordingly.
Each season has its own uniqueness that provides something new to anglers at all times of the year. Fall is no different, with changing leaves and trout adorning beautiful colors as the air turns crisp and the first forecasts of snow start to creep into view. Just like with everything else, tactics have to adjust with this new season and those who are flexible enough to recognize this can take advantage of some terrific fall fishing!
Fall is the classic time to ditch the size #20 dry flies and opt for the meaty articulated streamer box. Trout will be aggressively feeding and the browns in particular get quite territorial as they enter into pre-spawn mode. This aggression is often channeled on whatever unsuspecting baitfish or crayfish happens to be moving through their zone, and with any luck the next act of violence that fish commits can be on the end of our line!
As temperatures get colder closer to winter, trout will be less likely to remain in shallow ends of pools and slack water to feed — except on warmer days. More than likely, they will go to deep pools to hold during the winter. Use heavy nymphs with tungsten beads or pair up your nymphing rigs with non-toxic split-shot to dive your flies near the bottom.
During the fall season, flies should be a little more drab in color. Whether that be brown/black streamers or dark olive nymphs, the days of bright, flashy colors are behind us. Even certain patterns that are used all year long should shift to drab, such as the Squirmy Worm. The hot pink and bright red varieties of summer should be ditched for something like dark purple or green. While trout tend to be more aggressive during this time of year, the bugs themselves are less diverse in variety and as such there is less of the color spectrum to work with for the angler trying to imitate them.
Where There’s One, There’s More!
This is the time of year when trout will start to pod up a little more than they did in summer. It’s especially true of brook and brown trout that might be anticipating the upcoming spawning season. Whenever you catch one fish in a location, it’s a pretty safe bet that there are several more in close proximity, so it’s well worth the time and effort to thoroughly cover the water before moving on.
Be on the lookout for trout redds that will start to pop up in October and November. The continuation of the species is paramount for future success, and irreparable damage can be done by negatively impacting redds that fish are actively working. If you see one of these features, it’s best to leave it alone as well as any fish that happens to be actively working it. Spawning can be hard on trout, and giving them a wide berth can help limit their stress and help make more trout for years to come!
Fall offers up some of the most enjoyable fishing of the entire year. While the leaves are in their full color array and cool breezes put a comfortable chill in the air, trout feed happily and aggressively knowing that winter is fast-approaching. These visions of bliss that are looked forward to each year can become a reality by following these tips and getting out there and exploring a favorite stretch of water this fall season!
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